Hey everybody, it’s Chuey here again to tell you what I think about New Year’s eve. I know lots of people have fun shooting off a bunch of fireworks and stuff to celebrate the new year, but let me tell you it’s no fun at all for a little guy like me. I hate loud noises of any kind and all those strange booms and stuff were about to give me a heart attack!
Mom tried her best to help me stay calm. She wrapped me up in my Thundershirt and held me close, but I just couldn’t stop trembling. Pretty soon I was panting and shaking so hard mom was getting worried about me. We go through this every year when crazy people are out whooping and hollering and making loud noises all around us. It makes it hard for me or mom to get any sleep. She says it’s not a fun way to ring in the new year at all. At least New Year’s isn’t quite as bad as the Fourth of July….man, I really hate that time of year when the booms and whistles seem to go on all night long.
I’m just a little guy and I get scared sometimes when things are making noises I don’t understand. Like, I really hate it when mom decides to run her dishwasher. It makes banging and whooshing sounds that freak me out too. Now mom waits until I go to bed at night and puts me in the bedroom under the covers with the door shut and the fan on so I don’t hear it and we can all get some sleep. That way she says it’s less stressful for all of us.
Sometimes when I get extra panicky mom gives me some Benadryl to help me calm down. My usual dose is 1 mg per pound, so about half of a 25 mg tablet is just right to help me relax a little bit. But I don’t like taking pills, so mom rolls it up into a little ball of cheese. That way I can gulp it right down and not even know I’m taking it.
Anyway, I’m really glad New Year’s Eve is over with, but today I’m tired and just need to take a nap to get back to normal.
When Chuey was a young pup noises didn’t seem to bother him much at all. But as he’s gotten older (he’s 8 years old now), he seems to get more and more frightened of things like fireworks and thunderstorms. It all started about three years ago when we spent the summer living in an RV. Whenever it would rain the sound was intensified inside the RV and that’s when Chuey’s reaction started to change. It made me wonder why some dogs react this way more than others. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- It’s normal for some dogs to get startled by loud noises.
- Dogs can have the same type of startle response as we do by loud noises, which trigger an increased heart rate and a surge in stress hormones, as well as a rush of adrenaline.
- Because fireworks are sudden and less frequent, they can cause more of a startle response.
Not all dogs are afraid of fireworks. In fact, my son’s two yellow labs love fireworks and will chase after them and try to bite them. And I’ve known other big dogs who react in the same way. You have to watch them carefully to be sure they don’t get burned or injured.
Chuey is half Chihuahua, and like many small dogs, they seem to be more nervous and easily startled than bigger dogs.
What Can You Do?
Some trainers believe that if you start exposing your dog to loud noises at an early age they can become more desensitized to it. By playing recordings of fireworks and thunderstorms and gradually increasing the sounds the dog will become more used to it.
It’s really important that you remain calm. If you stay calm and reward or distract your dog with treats this will help train him to relax.
I realize now that the first time Chuey got upset during a thunderstorm I panicked too and was worried about him, which only intensified his fear. Now I try to stay calm in order to calm him down.
The Thundershirt works well for some dogs. While it doesn’t completely calm Chuey down any more, it certainly reduces his level of anxiety tremendously. It’s sort of like swaddling a baby, it just feels comforting to them to be wrapped up securely.
Perhaps you’d like to try a more homeopathic approach to reducing your dog’s anxiety. I’ve found some great all-natural treats and supplements you can buy direct from the warehouse and at a fantastic discount through Pet’s Warehouse.
If all else fails try to create a safe space for your dog during those stressful times. If he is crate trained, then he may feel much safer in his crate with a soft bed inside. Try to put him in a room as far away from the noise as possibly and turn on some soft music or a fan to create some white noise.
Be sure to keep your dog inside so that he can’t bolt and get away when he is frightened. And be sure that he has proper identification, such as a microchip and ID tags in case he does get away from you.
Do you have a dog that is scared of loud or strange noises? What do you do to help calm him down? Feel free to leave your comments and questions below.
Here’s to a safe and Happy New Year for you and your pets!
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